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Pīti

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Pīti

Pīti in Pali (Sanskrit: Prīti) is a mental factor (Pali:cetasika, Sanskrit: chaitasika) associated with the concentrative absorption (Sanskrit: dhyana; Pali: jhana) of Buddhist meditation. Piti is a very specific joy associated with a state of deep tranquillity. It is often translated with the English words "joy" or "rapture" and is distinguished from the longer-lasting meditative "pleasure" or "happiness" (Pali, Sanskrit: sukha) that arises along with pīti.

Contents

  • Absorption factor 1
  • Fivefold classification 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • Sources 5

Absorption factor

Table: Jhāna-related factors.
  first
jhāna
second
jhāna
third
jhāna
fourth
jhāna
sensuality
(kāma),
unskillful
qualities

(akusala
dhamma
)
secluded
from,
withdrawn
     
applied
thought

(vitakka)
accom-
panies
jhāna
stilled    
sustained
thought

(vicāra)
rapture
(pīti)
seclusion-
born;
pervades
body
samādhi-
born;
pervades
body
fades
away
(as does
distress)
 
pleasure
(sukha)
pervades
physical
body
aban-
doned
(as is
pain)
pure,
mindful
equanimity

(upekkhā-
sati-
pārisuddhi
)
  [internal
confidence,
mental
unification]
equani-
mous,
mindful
mindfull;
neither
pleasure
nor pain
 Source: AN 5.28 (Thanissaro, 1997)  *  

In Buddhist meditation, the development of concentrative absorption (Sanskrit: dhyāna; Pali: jhāna) is canonically described in terms of the following five factors:

  • applied thought (vitakka)
  • sustained thought (vicāra)
  • joy/rapture/happiness (pīti)
  • happiness/pleasure/bliss (sukha)
  • equanimity (upekkhā)[1]

Both pīti and sukha are born of bodily seclusion and mental quietude. The 5th century CE Visuddhimagga distinguishes between pīti and sukha in the following experiential manner:

And wherever the two are associated, happiness [here, Ñāamoli's translation of pīti] is the contentedness at getting a desirable object, and bliss [sukha] is the actual experiencing of it when got. Where there is happiness [pīti] there is bliss (pleasure) [sukha]; but where there is bliss [sukha] there is not necessarily happiness [pīti]. Happiness is included in the formations aggregate; bliss is included in the feeling aggregate. If a man exhausted in a desert saw or heard about a pond on the edge of a wood, he would have happiness; if he went into the wood's shade and used the water, he would have bliss....[2]

Fivefold classification

As the meditator experiences tranquillity (samatha), one of five kinds of joy (piti) will arise. These are:

  • Weak rapture only causes piloerection.
  • Short rapture evocates some thunder "from time to time".
  • Going down rapture explodes inside the body, like waves.
  • Exalting rapture "makes the body jump to the sky".
  • Fulfilling rapture seems to be a huge flood of a mountain stream.

Note only the last two are considered specifically piti. The first four are just a preparation for the last one, which is the jhanic factor.[3]

See also

  • Dhyāna/Jhāna (absorption)
  • Rapture (Christian use of the term "rapture")
  • Sukha (happiness/bliss, conascent with piti during first two jhanas)

Notes

  1. ^ See, for instance, Samādhaga Sutta (a/k/a, Pañcagikasamādhi Sutta, AN 5.28) (Thanissaro, 1997).
  2. ^ Vsm. IV, 100 (Ñāamoli, 1999, p. 142). Similarly, see also the Abhidhamma's commentary, Atthasalini (Bodhi, 1980).
  3. ^ Vsm. IV, 94-99 (Ñāamoli, 1999, pp. 141-2).

Sources

  • Bodhi, Bhikkhu (1980). Transcendental Dependent Arising: A Translation and Exposition of the Upanisa Sutta (Wheel No. 277/278). Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society. Retrieved 2008-05-08 from "Access to Insight" (1995) at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/wheel277.html
  • Ñāamoli, Bhikkhu (trans.) (1999). The Path of Purification: Visuddhimagga. Seattle, WA: BPS Pariyatti Editions. ISBN 1-928706-00-2.
  • Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (1997). Samadhanga Sutta: The Factors of Concentration (AN 5.28). Retrieved 2008-05-09 from "Access to Insight" at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an05/an05.028.than.html
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